Mindfulness Made Easy: The Tea Leaf Meditation

By Christine Gebhard – May 23, 2017 14:41

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How it works


This is a wonderful meditation for any tea drinker (& anyone who has been looking for a great excuse to become one), especially those of us who think they're too busy for meditation, or feel that the whole “watch your breath” stuff isn't for them.


How long does this meditation take? Only as long as your tea needs to brew, plus a minute or two.


There are a few things you need to do this meditation – so let's make sure you have them before we start: loose leaf tea, your favorite kettle to boil water, a transparent and heat-proof jug or pitcher into which to pour the hot water to brew your tea, a tea sieve/strainer (not a ball infuser or similar), a tea pot, and a timer. Oh, and of course a nice tea cup or mug.


Got it all? Great, then let's do our pre-meditation prep:


  1. Take your transparent and heat-proof jug or pitcher and add to it the tea leaves needed to brew your tea. Note that this meditation only “works” if you prepare at least 3 cups of tea at once. Why? Because we need a certain height of water (ideally at least 7cm or 3'') in the jug.
  2. Take your favorite kettle and boil the required water.


As soon as the water boils, our meditation begins – 8 steps to tea-mind bliss:


  1. Focus on the kettle. Let the boiling water calm down. Don't pour it yet, wait a moment or two. Let it get calm. Let the water and yourself relax.
  2. Now take the kettle and slowly pour the water into the jug or pitcher containing your measured tea leaves. Watch the stream lift up the leaves.
  3. Gently set the kettle back down in its designated place.
  4. Set your timer for brewing the tea. Put the timer softly back on the counter or table – don't keep it in your hand.
  5. Stand or sit in front of the jug or pitcher brewing your tea. Look at it. Observe the tea leaves as they soak up the water and float from top to bottom, one by one, spinning around a subtle vortex. Are the leaves moving fast or slow? What's happening to the vortex, is it still there? Are the leaves changing color? Watch them transform themselves for you – releasing their nutrients into the water. See the steam rise. Does it swirl? Is there a breeze in the air guiding the steam? Do you smell the tea already? Watch the leaves streak the water in brown, green or golden tones. More leaves are softly settling at the bottom of the jug – just where they came from before the water joined them. Back to their origin after a journey of transformation designed for your healing or awakening.
  6. When the timer rings, calmly pick up the strainer and put it on/over the pot (or directly on the cups) into which you will pour the tea. Take it easy, don't rush in any way.
  7. Carefully pick up the jug brewing the tea and pour the tea slowly through the sieve into the pot or cups.
  8. When done, set the jug down gently and take the sieve with the used tea leaves. Look at the leaves and thank them for serving your needs. Then throw them away – or do whatever you usually do with them.


Enjoy your mindfully brewed tea!

What you'll need


Story


I discovered the power and convenience of this meditation by accident – one day, brewing my tea, I was suddenly mesmerized by the transformation taking place in the pitcher: the subtle movement of the tea leaves, releasing their color into the water, bit by bit, and slowly descending to the bottom, every leaf in its own unique way and showing off its changed shape and texture. All the while the water sits there calmly, steaming, just letting the transformation happen – it is both the channel and recipient of change, without resistance.


I felt myself relax immediately, shoulders dropping, mind calming down. Right then I consciously continued doing the remaining steps slowly and with my full attention. And surprisingly (or not), the tea tasted better than ever before.


Now the tea meditation is one of my go-to ways to easily bring calm and focus into my days.

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By Christine Gebhard - May 23, 2017
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